5 Success Traits You Have to Learn the Hard Way

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We all know the saying “Hindsight is 20/20” and it’s just as true in business as it is in life. We’ve all gotten burned along the way, but it’s not only how we “react” to life’s lemons that counts, it’s how we use them to transform ourselves – for better or for worse.

We can let negative experiences bring us down or hold us back, or we can swallow our pride and learn from the valuable lesson and say to ourselves, “I’ll never do that again.”

I find it a waste of time to get hung up on what didn’t go right. It’s better to acknowledge what didn’t work, make a decision not to repeat it and forge ahead, one foot in front of the other with your dignity intact.

The difference between successful people and others is the restraint to not make the same mistakes over and over again. Once they learned their valuable lesson the hard way, they never go back to repeating the same mistake.

Here are 5 things I feel MUST be learned before you can achieve true success in your business…

1. Mistakenly thinking you can please everyone.

It’s not realistic to deliver something to everybody. From a customer base, it’s not a successful tactic to try to service too broad of an audience. You figure out what you’re good at and you work ahead, even if it means losing a client.

If you’re doing something over and over again that has not been successful or isn’t bringing in a solid return on your investment, scrap it and concentrate on what IS working. You can’t be married to products or services that your customers aren’t buying.

2. Returning to what hasn’t worked.

Entrepreneurs have to know when it’s time to pivot. The failure to pivot when conditions are ripe for a change is akin to insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over.

Whether it’s in business, relationships or life, you can’t continue doing the same thing and expect different results. If what you desire is something different, something has to change.

3. Losing focus on the big picture.

You don’t want to lose focus on the big picture. Otherwise, you’re like a sailboat in the middle of the ocean without a compass, floating wherever the wind takes you.

When people fail to set a big picture, they mindlessly wander through business and in life because they don’t know where they’re going. Where’s the fun in that?

4. Trying to change other people.

Instead of trying to get employees to conform to my way of thinking or trying to change them, I recruit people that have likeminded goals, who buy into the bigger picture.

With employees, you certainly have different visions, but you can effectively say, “We no longer have the same vision,” and if it’s no longer the right fit, it may be more conducive to part ways.

It’s more productive to build a team of people with positive attitudes, who are all working toward a common purpose than to have staff that are going in different directions, some of whom may be skewing yours.

5. Failing to perform due diligence.

When you fail to perform your due diligence, you’re making some assumptions and you’re not validating those with the best set of data. Things fall through the cracks, things get misunderstood. Things aren’t exactly as they were presented to you, or as they appeared to you.

While there’s no such thing as the “perfect set of data,” when you conduct your due diligence, you’re in the best position to make informed decisions, so long as you don’t let the data paralyze your decision-making abilities.

We all make mistakes…even the most successful entrepreneurs and leadership coaches. But, what the successful people do better than unsuccessful people is recognize what led to their mistakes and they make a conscious decision not to repeat them.

In the capacity of an entrepreneur, spouse, parent, and friend, it is your task to recognize your mistakes and stop repeating them.

As a serial entrepreneur and business coach, I’d be glad to share the valuable business lessons I have learned with you to help shorten your learning curve.

If you need a sounding board to discuss your business and funding options, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

 

5 Things You’re NOT Going to Miss About the Corporate World

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If you’re reading this blog – or really, any of the information on my website – it’s because you’re contemplating business ownership. For many of my clients, this means making the leap from employee to entrepreneur.

There is zero doubt that this is a daunting proposition, but once you take the giant leap of faith, you’ll soon realize the endless benefits to taking the reins of your own business.

Once you break free from the velvet shackles of your corporate job, it won’t be long before you start counting all the things you don’t miss about the 8 to 5 daily grind. The corporate experience that makes you shout TGIF with the utmost enthusiasm.

Here are just 5 things you’re not going to miss…

1. Not getting the credit you’re due (standing in your boss’ shadow)

Many employees are in the situation where the next step is for their boss to be promoted so they can be promoted into their boss’ position. That’s not a very productive career path: being in the boss’ shadow until they step aside or move up.

You also get this situation where people feel that they are not getting the credit they’re due. They work really hard, but they never get promoted. This is common in environments with less dynamic change, and it’s highly discouraging.

If you’re in an organization that isn’t changing much, your opportunity is that you need someone above you, or several people above you to be promoted. Then, you have the dominos and you can finally be promoted; this can take YEARS to happen.

Or, you can have competition with someone at the next desk – they have the same goals as you. Perhaps your peer (the person you have lunch with every week) has the same goals, and then one day they become your boss. There’s an angst to the whole process.

The corporate ladder typically has one lane. If you can’t bypass, you have to sit back and wait until a golden opportunity lands on your lap, and sometimes it never comes. You can’t make that happen, it has to happen from outside factors. You’re not in control.

2. Corporate politics

This involves a variety of different agendas and being able to get out from underneath or behind, and having to service other people’s self-interests and goals. Those other agendas and goals aren’t necessarily conducive to the grand scheme of the employer’s deal.

A lot of the politics comes down to the “personal” things you have to deal with. Many times they aren’t in line with the company’s goals, and they are certainly not in line with your goals. But, you have no choice but to go along with these agendas, whether you agree with them or not. It’s “their way” or the highway. 

3. Working overtime (generally for free) for someone else’s benefit

Looking back to when I worked overtime for salary, there wasn’t any monetary benefit and it was generally an expected deal.

4. Not having control or flexibility of schedule

When you’re an employee, you don’t have control or flexibility over your schedule. In contrast, when you own your own business, even at the outset, you’re still in a position to prioritize.

If there are important things in your life that are a high priority, such as an event with a child or grandchild…you’re afforded the opportunity to make a decision. What’s more important, something in the office or outside the office?

You often don’t get that opportunity when you’re in an employment situation.

Yes, when you start or buy a business, there’s a lot of hard work and long days, but at least the benefit is that when you need 30 or 60 minutes to attend or take care of something, you’re certainly there for yourself or your family.

5. The ax constantly swaying just above your head

In the corporate environment, there is this uncertainty: Business conditions change. People at the top change priorities. The investor group is out and suddenly a whole new regime comes in. The certainty in your position and in what you do can certainly be affected.

If you have been thinking about leaving the corporate world and taking the leap to entrepreneurship, I encourage you to read my book, Be Your Best Boss: Reinvent Yourself from Employee to Entrepreneur.

In my book, I navigate you through the process of business and self-discovery, ensuring that you embark on your entrepreneurial journey with your eyes, ears, and mind wide open, and with a solid plan for making your business dreams come true.

Let me help you examine your business and funding options – contact me today!

 

How Do Entrepreneurs Make Tough Decisions?

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Business ownership and making tough decisions are two things that go hand-in-hand, and as an entrepreneur you have to make decisions on a daily, if not hourly basis. But it’s to be expected – after all, the buck stops with you. No more board members, committees or red tape to get through.

Instead of thinking of this as intimidating, consider it liberating…you get to call the shots! But how do you know what calls to make?

How do you know when to trust your gut?

1. Before making a tough decision, consider your knowledge of the past.

You have gut feelings all the time, but they’re not always right. Nevertheless, you can’t help but listen to them. So, how do you know when to trust those strong feelings?

Much of it has to do with experience.

We gain a wealth of knowledge from our past experiences; this is why trial and error and failure are all such valuable lessons. When at first we don’t succeed, we try and try again until we get it right, and this applies to all aspects of business and life.

When I have to make a tough business decision, I ask myself, “Have I ever been in a similar situation to this?” If you can recall a time that you were in a similar situation, you can examine the decisions that you made, and you can use those to help you put the present situation into perspective.

As the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20,” and it is so true. Use your hindsight to help you make the best decisions that you can, but know that you’ll rarely have the perfect set of information. If you wait for that, you’ll wait forever.

I have found that the lack of decision is what gets people into real trouble.

Day-by-day, you’re slowly building a reservoir of knowledge and experience – that transforms into gut feeling. The longer you’re an entrepreneur, the more you’ve had to make similar decisions. As time goes by, that “gut” feeling comes with that reservoir of knowledge.

2. If the gut decision is negative, consider why. Think logistically about why you’re associating something with negativity.

Think – “Why am I uncomfortable?” Is this something new that you’ve never tried before? Are you uncomfortable with the tradeoffs? Are you going against your worldview?

The only time I have a negative feeling is when I think I’m making the wrong decision or I that I could be making the wrong decision.

I never make a gut decision that’s negative. If I’m not feeling comfortable or if I’m feeling fearful of making the wrong decision, I won’t make the decision. But how do you get past that? You don’t want to get trapped in indecision.

Avoiding ‘Paralysis by Analysis’ 

You want to avoid “paralysis by analysis,” especially when you’ve reached a decision point – a point where you need to make a decision. If you find yourself in limbo about an important business decision, what you do is go back your research and seek advice from experts.

Perhaps you simply need more data to analyze.

Sometimes we get nervous because we’re making a decision that we know will have a significant impact – and it could be positive or negative. We mistake fear of the unknown as a bad gut feeling, but we’re really at the edge of taking a big leap of faith.

There will be times when change is the right decision, especially as it pertains to the ever-evolving world of business.

Since you don’t have a crystal ball, you want to differentiate between a gut feeling that you want to listen to and one that stems from the fear of leaving your comfort zone. And this reminds me of a famous quote…

“First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” ~Ray Bradbury

It’s worth noting that not all decisions are created equal. You need to prioritize the level of decision. Some people stress about the littlest things, and honestly, that’s a big waste of time. Remember, 80 percent of that stuff doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Don’t put a lot of weight on it. The risk is marginalized if it’s not an important decision.

If you’re considering going into business for yourself and realizing your American Dream, feel free to contact me for advice. I’d be glad to help you make an informed decision about your path to entrepreneurship!

7 Habits the Wealthy Have Mastered

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I’ve developed a lot of relationships with wealthy entrepreneurs. Often, it’s our colorful stories about the mistakes we made, the lessons we learned, and the struggles we overcame that we love sharing.

They’ll say things like, “I was so broke, I had to sleep in my car,” or “I first ran my business out of my one bedroom apartment.”

The road to success isn’t always easy; all wealthy entrepreneurs had mountains to climb, and setbacks and failures to overcome. These experiences tested them, they taught them, and as a result they (me included) learned to master these habits…

1. Finding causes bigger than themselves

CatchFire Funding is bigger than me in the grand scheme of things. It’s allowed me to assist thousands of entrepreneurs, and show them how to grow their businesses.

I get to help people go from having a somewhat successful business, to designing that business around whatever they want to achieve in life.

It’s also about helping the people around you, including your employees. The cause has to be bigger than you.

2. Aligning themselves with experts

When I was being interviewed for an AARP article, we discussed the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur. One con is loneliness; jumping out of the corporate tube and now you’re the guy in charge. You have all these responsibilities.

You don’t have that figure of power, a boss that can assist in making decisions. Now you’re in the seat of power and have to make those decisions.

It’s a con, but you substitute that with a reliable team of professional advisors, and you develop relationships with your peer group.

3. Making decisions

It’s important to make a decision vs. being paralyzed and making no decision at all. My mode isn’t necessarily a quick decision. Rather, it’s knowing to make a decision when I have sufficient information to make a semi-informed decision.

Some people are waiting for the perfect data and it never comes.

There are quick decisions and there are reactionary decisions. It’s not necessarily about making a quick decision. There are two extremes, you find the middle ground where you’re comfortable, and making a decision is an important aspect.

4. Managing priorities

This is all about making decisions. Only 20 percent of the decisions you make will have an effect on 80 percent of your business.

Time is finite, so tackle the tasks that matter most. You may have a dozen things that need your attention, prioritize and handle those that affect 80 percent of your business.

5. Mixing business with pleasure

I believe in mixing business with pleasure. Last week I was at a meeting in Orlando, and afterward a small group of us went to Disney World. In past years, my wife and I would spend three or four nights at a beach before a meeting.

You also need time away from your business for your brain to relax.

My brain is usually thinking and digesting business questions, but the clarity often comes when I’m away, whether I’m on a plane, walking through Disney World, or at a country music concert (I love Eric Church and Old Dominion).

That’s when my mind is free. Sitting there, watching people listening to the music. My mind has the opportunity to go wherever it wants to go. I also have some of my best ideas when I’m walking or hiking; that’s my other outlet.

6. Continuously learning

Learning includes a context of implementation. The most valuable part is learning about the opportunity. Whether you’re learning from a book, a peer group, or reverse engineering someone’s marketing funnel, you have to learn about it before you can implement it.

If someone’s already designed something that you’re looking for, you don’t have to imagine it from scratch. You look at their system and reverse engineer.

How are other people successful? How are they doing it? What are their magic steps? Do I implement them?

You can use that in your business.

Learning includes looking at the marketplace, and identifying people that are successful. Trying to emulate and duplicate. Gathering ideas that you can implement, such as how they market, and how they present themselves. You do that with competitors.

7. Asking for feedback

After spending two days at Jack Canfield’s home, I learned he was successful because he developed a concept that morphed into a bunch of niches. Chicken Soup… one concept morphed into 70 books. He listened to his audience’s feedback.

Jack built a whole portfolio about associated content that met those demands. The takeaway is to get your clients’ feedback, it’s key to building a successful business.

If you want to develop these habits, first you have to get started. If you’re ready to explore your business and funding options, give me a call!

 

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

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What’s really holding you back from leaving the perceived comfort of the corporate world? It could be purely a mental block – a preconceived notion of the abilities you have…and the abilities you don’t.

During childhood we establish beliefs about ourselves, like “I’m no good at math,” or “I can only draw stick figures.” These fixed mindsets can follow us into adulthood, and they can be crippling.

We’re all susceptible to succumbing to a fixed mindset; from a career perspective, this habit can stop you from realizing your true potential.

With a fixed mindset, we assume that things like intelligence, drive, personality and creative potential are innate, and can’t be changed.

If you say that you’re musically challenged, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn to play the piano beautifully. Or, just because a little girl is clumsy, it doesn’t mean she’ll never make it into the New York City Ballet.

We can fool ourselves into believing that we must have natural talent before we can be good at something, when in reality anything can be learned.

Sure, natural talent gives us an advantage, but it’s overrated.

So how do you go about changing your own mind?

I think that people with a fixed mindset…that they aren’t malleable. They always take the same path. If you have a fixed mindset, it can hold you back and lead to “analysis paralysis.”

Let’s say that John, 45, has an unfulfilling job and he fantasizes about going into business for himself. But John has a fixed mindset; all his life he’s believed that he’s not a leader, and as an introvert, he doesn’t think he could handle running a business, let alone a team.

So, John doesn’t follow his dreams of entrepreneurship because he wants to maintain that aura of infallibility. He has no one to blame but himself.

To succeed in a new endeavor, you must assume that you can become good at anything if you want it bad enough, be it math, technology, oil painting, or entrepreneurship.

What’s Worked for Me

A colleague recently asked me, “Bill, how did you do it? It seems so natural, the path that you followed.”

“Every time there was a decision point, how did you navigate that?” she asked.

When people have asked me to take personality and other tests, I land in the middle of the road. I don’t fall into a single bucket. My mentor once said, “Bill, you’re sort of a bucket of your own.”

He said that since I’m in the middle, I can move one way or the other and assume whatever identity I want to assume. I think that’s the trick, to be willing to assume any identity.

I’m naturally an introverted person, but with my book, Be Your Best Boss: Reinvent Yourself from Employee to Entrepreneur, I’m having a lot of fun and I’m a world different than the person that I was. Part of what changed me was experience, which led to confidence.

My Personal Journey

Looking back at my career and business experience, there was never really a home run, there were a bunch of small wins; a bunch of singles. Small wins are what lead to genuine confidence – nail it then scale it.

The fixed mindset, however, stops people from realizing their dreams (“I’ll never succeed on my own…”), but with the growth mindset once you’ve had a few small wins, you realize, “Wow, I really can do anything I put my mind to.”

All of the things that you desire to have and achieve must be claimed. They aren’t handed to you.

If you’re worried about your innate abilities, know that talent plays a much smaller role than learning and hard work. View your talent and abilities as things that can be cultivated and molded through education, practice and effort.

Recognize that success has less to do with the hand that life’s dealt you, and more with how you play your hand.

Interestingly, when I walk into the office and there’s a series of small issues I have to deal with, I get a slight headache thinking of all of those small details.

But the bigger challenges, I see those as opportunities to seize. I look at those in a positive way. Maybe part of the deal is that most of my big problems are good problems, or positive problems, but that’s the perspective I choose to take.

If you want to jump the corporate ship, look at your roadblocks as opportunities and search for solutions. If you have trouble finding them, invent some!

Learn more about taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur by giving me a call!

Which Life Lessons Can You Use to Start a Business?

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People are better prepared to start a business than they think; part of that goes back to life and career lessons. I can relate to this notion as I recall my dad helping me with a very small archery business when I was in high school.

When I was 15-years-old, my family took up archery as a hobby – my dad, brother and I. Well, my dad not really, he was just indulging my brother and I. It was, however, something that he had an interest in.

My father grew up in a championship marksman family. My dad’s uncles were into competitive shooting, but my dad focused on other things in life. I think that’s where my entrepreneurial story begins…back when we took up archery and joined a club.

The police officer running the archery business accepted a job in a different city and decided to move. So, my dad thought it would be a good idea if we took over, selling archery items so people could custom make their own bows – arrows, nocks, quivers, fletchings and such.

I don’t know my dad’s goal, but I certainly learned a lot from that experience. I feel I really embraced the whole notion of running a business, even as a 15-year-old. It was my equivalent to a newspaper route, or other entrepreneurs’ stories about their first businesses.

I recall a conversation with my dad. He asked me, “How much did we make at the end of the year?” We didn’t carry much inventory; we carried a little. We’d buy an extra dozen arrows or so and there was a 30 percent markup. That was my first experience with a budget and a profit.

Later, after having success in my career, I got to the point where I was running a small, independent engineering organization. We were responsible for executing and acquiring business.

Initially, I didn’t understand how the defense contracting environment worked. I realized, wow, we have to live within the budget.

I understood that from a cost perspective, if we didn’t have the money to do something, we had to trade something off to come in under budget.

One of my proudest moments in my career is when a division manager gave a tour to a high-ranking general. They picked my project for the presentation.

The division manager said to the general, “You see, we can do a project that’s under budget.” Up until then, I didn’t realize that coming “under budget” was out of the norm.

That experience gave me some confidence that yeah, I probably can do this on my own. If I can do it for a $5 million dollar contract, I can run a small business.

That was my “aha” moment.

What life lessons have you learned?

I challenge you to think back to the life lessons you’ve learned. I’ll bet you can think of a handful of experiences that sparked the entrepreneur inside you.

Were you a Girl Scout who always sold the most cookies in your troop during cookie season? Did you pay for your first car by mowing lawns for three consecutive summers? Did you start a dog-walking business with your neighborhood friends in middle school?

In present time, are you doing so well working for someone else that you know you could be doing it on your own? Perhaps you know you could do it better.

When Life Gives You Lemons

You may not realize, but sometimes it’s our experiences, life lessons – good and bad – that lead us to a successful career as an entrepreneur. For example, if you were laid off, or if you’re unhappy in your job, you can take the lemons that life has given you and make lemonade.

We all have that choice.

We can have the best-laid plans, but things rarely go the way we expect them to. You never know what kind of curve balls life is going to throw at you. And maybe one or two of them will lead you down a strikingly different path. One you never thought possible.

My Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

As an aspiring entrepreneur, surround yourself with people who support your dreams and stop spending time with toxic people. Seek mentors who are already doing what you aspire to do. You’d be surprised how many successful business owners would be glad to give you advice over a good cup of coffee.

If you need to bounce some business and funding ideas off of someone who is in the know, don’t hesitate to give me a call!

‘Good Reads’ Suggested by Bill Seagraves

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As a business owner, I’ve made a point to learn from successful entrepreneurs, some of whom have served as my coaches and mentors. In dealing with them, I was impressed by how many talented business owners from around the country have made learning a priority despite their hectic schedules.

Juggling a family, running a business, travel and learning is not easy, and yet more of my colleagues choose to make sacrifices to stay ahead of market trends, technology, and to enhance their understanding of the best ways to grow their business.

You’d be surprised how many successful entrepreneurs are avidly reading books, attending seminars and workshops, going back to school, and taking online courses – all in the spirit of expanding their horizons and treading unchartered territory.

In today’s constantly evolving business and technology environment, learning is not only necessary – it’s essential if you want to stay at the top of your game.

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to remain stagnant in their knowledge. Rather, we must create a culture where we become self-directed learners who find excitement in learning and where we have an insatiable appetite for advance knowledge and skills.

At the individual level, you should take full advantage of the learning opportunities available, and this includes reading books, attending seminars and workshops, and finding a few good mentors.

To help you get the ball rolling, I wanted to recommend two books that I found intriguing and applicable to my business, and I’m sure you’ll find them useful too.

1. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsche

In this book, the small business guru behind Duct Tape Marketing shares one of his most valuable lessons with readers: how to get their customers to do their best marketing for them.

As the power of glitzy advertising is waning, word-of-mouth referrals are driving today’s most successful businesses forward. After all, we trust recommendations from friends, colleagues and family more than anything thrust at us by a faceless company.

People can’t help but recommend products or services they believe in and that instinct is hardwired into our brains. Smart business owners tap into that.

The hardest thing to do from a business perspective is having to earn business from new customers every day. If you’re always having to do this, it’s very challenging; you’ll burn yourself out because you’re always on the hunt.

The secret to generating customer referrals lies in understanding the “customer referral cycle,” and this book teaches you how to generate referrals like a well-oiled machine.

Check out Jantsche’s book on Amazon or on the book’s website.

2. The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

According to John Warrillow, the emerging subscription economy offers companies huge opportunities to turn existing customers into subscribers. The “automatic customer” is the key to igniting growth and boosting your company’s value.

Warrillow shows readers how virtually companies in all industries, including home contractors, start-ups, and Fortune 500 companies can build a sizeable subscription base.

The big takeaway from this book is the importance of building a recurring revenue stream.

Whether you want to transform your business into a recurring revenue engine or just increase your sales by 5 percent, this book is your secret weapon.

You can find Warrillow’s book on Amazon or on the book’s website.

My Conclusion

Each of these books talk about ways and strategies to create the situation where customers seek you out,  so the business automatically generates cash flow. Hopefully, new clients are seeking you out vs. having to go hunt them down and sell them.

Both authors discuss positioning your business so your existing clients continue to want to use your services. Essentially, the goal is to generate more value than you deliver.

My question to you is: What are you doing right now to expand your knowledge and skills so you’re better prepared for tomorrow?

I recommend adopting a learning mindset where you’re constantly looking for opportunities to grow, whether personally or professionally. That way, you keep your mind stimulated and well-prepared for the constantly evolving world around you. But, don’t forget to have fun in the process!

If you’re interested in getting business advice directly from me, all you have to do is pick up the phone. I’m one phone call away!

How Being an Entrepreneur Also Means Being a Leader

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Most entrepreneurs know going into business ownership that they’ll be the leaders of the business, but they may not be fully prepared for what that means. You’ve likely learned all the ins and outs of your industry, mastered the tools of the trade and learned how to deliver your product or service as expertly as possible, but interacting with and leading people can be one of the most difficult and elusive parts of business ownership. So, let’s look at what it really means to be a leader and an entrepreneur at the same time.

Leading Your Team

This is the most obvious aspect of leadership as it pertains to business ownership. When you own a business, you usually aren’t the only one involved. Even if you don’t have a team of employees right away, it’s probably a goal down the line.

So, what does it look like to lead a team? As a business owner, it means establishing policies and procedures, building and communicating strategic plans, creating and enforcing rules and evaluating employee performance, among many other crucial tasks. Successfully accomplishing these critical parts of business ownership can be make or break for your business. Team leadership can be the difference between a well-oiled machine and a clunky operation that keeps breaking down.

Even beyond those clear components of leadership, entrepreneurs have to be the driving force for motivation and inspiration within their organizations. True leaders help their employees do their jobs, and accomplish their goals, more effectively and with greater enthusiasm. They work to create not just better employees but better people every single day. When you’ve mastered leadership as an entrepreneur, you’ll have an entire team of energized go-getters who are just as excited as you are and can’t wait to help you take the business to the next level.

Interacting with Your Clients

Another side to leadership for entrepreneurs involves how you interact with your clients. Whether you sell a product, provide a service or both, your clients and customers are a top priority for your business. After all, they’re the ones who keep you in business. Being a leader to your clients means displaying your expertise in your particular field and proving to them why yours is the right business to fulfill their needs.

Obviously you can’t order your customers to buy from you, but they still rely on your authority as an expert for recommendations, insights and information. Using that authority to solidify your relationships with your clients can help you satisfy more customers and grow your business more effectively, and all it takes is the right application of leadership skills.

Staying Focused on the Job at Hand

The same leadership mentality you apply to your interactions with employees and clients can also help you remain goal-oriented throughout your life as an entrepreneur. In the same way you provide structure for your employees and expertise for your clients, your leadership skills will help you through business ownership by reminding you why you became an entrepreneur, keeping your goals in mind and providing valuable insight when you need it most. For successful entrepreneurs, leadership is just as much about motivating others as it as about motivating themselves.

I’ve seen the importance of leadership skills for entrepreneurs firsthand, and I’ve helped many people on their paths to business ownership. When you’re ready to take the leap for yourself, reach out. I can help you become the entrepreneur and leader you’ve always wanted to be.

Before You Jump the Corporate Ship, Realize 3 Things

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If you’ve been following my blog or social media feeds for any length of time, I hope you’ve come to realize that the healthy dose of entrepreneurial inspiration is tempered with equal doses of reality – the reality you can expect when you cross over into the “wild” world of entrepreneurship.

With that context in mind, here are three things – three truths we’ll call them – that I’d like for you to realize before you take the life-changing leap from the corporate ship.

1. You’re going to work hard – very hard.

It’s a cold hard fact – you’re going to work hard, very hard in the early years.

If you want a successful business bad enough, you’ll have to work for it, but take that all in stride. Trust me, there’s a certain satisfaction in putting in all of the blood, sweat, and tears and watching it pay off.

This brings me to the underlying cause of why you’re willing to work so hard to get the results you want out of life: your motivation…

My question is why do you want to do this? Look at this as your opportunity to fill that personal need.

While you’re burning the midnight oil, remember your motivations: you’re working toward flexibility, fulfilling your personal mission, and for your family’s financial freedom.

The first few years I spent building my business required a lot of man-hours, but looking back, the time and effort I spent building my business was extremely fulfilling.

I truly enjoyed building my company. I enjoyed talking to people and inspiring people – I sought the challenge and I fully embraced it.

2. It may take longer than you think.

Everybody goes into business optimistic and they think things will happen faster than reality suggests. I help people manage that expectation by showing them how to think of it from a different perspective.

There are three case scenarios: best, middle, and worst case, and it’s logical to shoot for the midway point. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and execute somewhere in the middle – that’s what I advise my clients.

3. It will be worth every minute.

This brings me back to your motivation, and why you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur. Need to save money for retirement? Want to leave a legacy for your children? Want to do something that you’re passionate about?

Whether you were aged out of the workforce, or your career didn’t allow for a proper retirement, or you desire to do something you’ve always dreamed of doing, once you achieve your dreams of business success, you’ll discover that it was worth every uncomfortable, scary, yet exhilarating minute.

Remember, behind every challenge is a lesson, and each one of them makes you a better business owner than you were the day before. That, my friend, is inescapable.

It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey. Take that to heart.

Recently, someone asked me if I looked back on my journey to entrepreneurship fondly. There were rough spots. There were times where I wasn’t 100 percent sure that everything was going to pan out, but I pressed forward.

My advice is to trust the process and your gut, and above all things, keep a positive outlook as you continue to run your business the best way that you know how.

Was it worth it to get to where I am now? Yes, and when you have levels of success, you’ll find yourself looking back. I remember feeling like it was a challenge. Now, when I look back I can look at it with 20/20 vision, and you will too.

I’ll think to myself, “Yeah, okay, I see what happened there.”

You put that experience in your arsenal to help you make future decisions. It’s a point of extrapolation for similar situations in the future – there’s a beauty to that. And you know what? The new experiences, and realizations never cease to amaze me.

If the road was incredibly easy, where would all the fun be?

So, before you jump the corporate ship, realize that your success as an entrepreneur will come down to three things: your motivation, the journey, and lastly, the destination.

All successful entrepreneurs arrive at the same conclusion – that the challenges and sacrifices are all worth it, and one day you’ll agree that the feelings of satisfaction and self-sufficiency are priceless.

If you’re interested in unlocking your potential and realizing your dreams of entrepreneurship, contact me to see how CatchFire Funding can help!

 

How to Maintain Your Motivation After You Buy a Business

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Deciding to buy a business is exciting! The entire world is full of opportunity and you know exactly why you want to become an entrepreneur. But how do you keep motivation once the “newness” of entrepreneurship wears off?

Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve found work best to help you hang onto the motivation that first inspired you to explore going into business for yourself.

Get in the Groove

Every day is different as an entrepreneur and thinking on your feet is a part of the fun. That said, building a routine can be a fantastic way to maintain your motivation no matter what the entrepreneurial landscape throws at you.

Whether it’s starting your morning with a satisfying breakfast or getting to your computer at the same time every day, little routines can have a huge impact on your motivation by giving you a bit of stability to hold onto.

Set Ongoing Goals

Goal setting shouldn’t end just because you’ve achieved your dream of business ownership. Your goals should simply change and grow. Setting new goals and going after them, then setting even more goals as you check others off your list, is all part of the business ownership process—and it’s one of the best motivational tools out there.

As you work to set smart goals and achieve them, you’ll see your business and your life evolve for the better. That satisfaction is truly inspiring and will help you stay on track toward meeting every goal you set for yourself.

Take Time for Yourself

The life of an entrepreneur can be hectic. You probably knew that before you decided to buy a business. But that doesn’t mean it has to be non-stop. In fact, taking a break once in a while is an important way to stay motivated.

Giving yourself time to breathe, relax and reset from the busy life of an entrepreneur can help you reenergize and refocus on everything that needs to be done. Whether it’s a little time every day or a vacation once a year, taking time away from work can do wonders for your motivation.

Look to Other Entrepreneurs

Another important way to maintain your motivation after you buy a business is to look at what other entrepreneurs are doing. Experts in business ownership and management can be valuable sources of insights and techniques to keep your business afloat and your eyes on the prize.

Whether you read articles about motivation, pick up books on the subject, network with other business owners or seek out mentorship opportunities, the advice and teachings of other entrepreneurs can shine a bright light on the right path for your business.

That’s also true if you haven’t yet bought your business. If you’re still exploring going into business for yourself, you need positive motivation just as much as entrepreneurs who already own their businesses. That’s where I can help. If you’re ready to buy a business but you need some assistance figuring out your financials, get in touch with me. After all, the first step to staying motivated is getting started.